SYRACUSE, Sicily (KXAN) — The island of Sicily may have broken a record-high temperature on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, the city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily recorded a temperature of 119.8°F (48.8°C). If verified by the World Meteorological Organization, this will be the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
The current record is out of Athens, Greece, which is 118.4°F (48°C) recorded back in 1977.
Similar to the heatwave in the Pacific Northwest in North America, the heatwave currently affecting not only Italy but much of southern Europe is the result of another intense high pressure — currently being nicknamed Lucifer.
“Red alerts” have been issued by the Italian health ministry as heat-related illnesses are expected to increase from eight cities to 15 by Friday.
Along with record national heat records being broken, the heatwave is also provoking wildfires across the Mediterranean. Italy, Sicily, Calabria and Puglia are all reporting wildfires as of Wednesday evening.
These disasters come at a time when the IPCC released its fifth installment of climate research findings on Monday. This report concludes our climate is changing faster than anticipated eight years ago when the last report was released. Along with warming global temperatures and sea level rise, the report says that increases in weather extremes such as droughts, floods and wildfires are on the rise as well.